Prep 20 mins
Cook 35 mins
Food & Wine's One Dish Meals: "There are many versions of bread soup; this one, based on traditional peasant fare, is as thick as bread pudding. The soup is delicious on its own, but we think the steamed mussels with their broth make a wonderful addition." Wine Recommendation: "With such a regional dish, the wine almost to come from Tuscany too. Try a Rosso di Montalcine, Brunello's lighter, less costly cousin."
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 2 tablespoons thin sliced basil leaves
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes, in a thick puree (from one 28-ounce can)
- 1 1⁄4 lbs vine ripened tomatoes, cut small dice (about 4)
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 2 1⁄4 teaspoons salt
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1 3⁄4 lbs country-style bread, crust removed, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 7 cups)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 lbs mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- 1⁄4 cup dry white wine
- In a large saucepan, heat 4 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, chopped basil and oregano. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden, about 10 minutes.
- Add the canned and fresh tomatoes, the broth, salt and sugar; bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, until thick, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350°F Put the bread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until crisp, about 25 minutes. Remove.
- Add the bread and pepper to the sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring gently, until the bread absorbs all the liquid, about 5 minutes.
- Discard any mussels that have broken shells or that don't clamp shut when tapped.
- Put the wine, mussels, and 1 tablespoon of of the oil in a large stainless steel saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Cook, shaking the pit occasionally, just until the mussels open, about 3 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open.
- Mound the bread soup in shallow bowls and surround with the mussels and broth, leaving any grit in the pan. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with the sliced basil.